Antiwar Coalition conference makes plans to protest Chicago NATO Summit
Stamford, CT – Over 500 people gathered here, March 23-25, for a conference of the United National Antiwar Coalition (UNAC). The conference brought together activists from up and down the East Coast and from across the country.
Pete Shell, one of the conference organizers said, “We advanced the organizing for the mass mobilization on NATO and the G8 in Chicago on May 20.” The opening speaker on Saturday morning was Joe Iosbaker, an activist from Chicago with the Coalition Against NATO/G8 War and Poverty Agenda (CANG8). Iosbaker called out, “If you’re going to Chicago to protest NATO, please stand.” Hundreds rose to their feet in response.
Over 150 people came from New York’s Muslim community, including South Asians, African Americans and Arabs. Malik Mujahid, a leader in UNAC, is also a founder of the Muslim Peace Coalition and has led UNAC to build the alliance between their community and the anti-war movement. There were also Filipinos, Colombians, Puerto Ricans and many other nationalities, but the Muslim community turned out in such numbers because the conference addressed the U.S. government’s war against Muslims. Marlene Jenkins and Shahina Parvee spoke about the FBI spending years entrapping their sons, who had done nothing to harm anyone. Judges refused to allow them to use evidence of entrapment in their defense cases, and both men received 15 year prison sentences.
Meredith Aby of the Committee to Stop FBI Repression spoke about being raided by the FBI in an investigation sparked by her anti-war organizing. “This conference took strong stands against political repression.” Showing that the anti-war movement won’t be intimidated, Aby continued, “I’m also excited that so many are organizing to march in Chicago against the U.S. and NATO wars in Afghanistan, Libya, and their threats of war against Syria and Iran. This will be the largest national anti-war protest in years.”